Paediatric: Hearing Loss

Hearing loss

What is Hearing loss?

Normal hearing is especially important in children for normal speech and language development. Hence, if there is any suspicion of hearing loss or signs of speech and language delay in children, early assessment and intervention is of paramount importance.

 

The ear can be divided into outer, middle and inner ear. The cause of hearing loss can be broadly divided into conductive or sensorineural causes (Figure 1).

 

Conductive hearing loss is due to a problem with sound reaching the inner ear. Most of the time, conductive hearing loss is reversible. Hearing is usually restored when the cause is successfully treated. Some of the common causes of conductive hearing loss include:

 

  1. Impacted ear wax
  2. Ear infections
  3. Fluid in the middle ear (Figure 2)
  4. Foreign body in the ear canal
  5. Hardening or stiffening of the hearing bones

 

Sensorineural hearing loss is due to a problem with the inner ear structures (cochlea – which is the hearing organ or vestibular nerve – which is the hearing nerve). Unfortunately, most of the time, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent or irreversible. If the hearing loss is significant, these children usually require a hearing aid (conventional or implantable). Some of the common cause of sensorineural hearing loss include:

 

  1. Genetic causes
  2. Regular and prolonged exposure to loud noises
  3. Viral infection of the inner ear structures (labyrinthitis)
  4. Certain medications (ototoxic drugs)
  5. Trauma

 

For assessment of hearing loss, your ENT Specialist will take a full clinical history, conduct a physical examination and likely perform a hearing test (audiometry). The management of hearing loss depends on the cause of hearing loss.

When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

  • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
  • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

Dr Gan provides a comprehensive management in a broad array of Ear, Nose and Throat as well as Head & Neck conditions. He has a special interest in treating various nose and sinus conditions including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

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